Bee-Friendly Plants Actually Killing Them: Study

Some studies says 40 to 90-percent of bees worldwide have died

By Cheryl Hurd
|  Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013  |  Updated 7:13 PM PDT
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Cheryl Hurd reports on a declining bee population and why you should care about it.

Cheryl Hurd reports on a declining bee population and why you should care about it.

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Most of us worry about their stings, when the subject of bees comes up, but the buzz among researchers here in the Bay Area and abroad is the fact that their numbers are drastically dwindling.

A study released today by "Friends of the Earth" says that so-called "bee- friendly" plants, sold at local big box stores, are killing the insects with pesticides.

Terry Oxford is a San Francisco urban beekeeper who says that bees are in trouble and we have to do something about it now.

“I feel like most people don’t know that they pollinate up to 70 percent of our food. It’s interesting the types of food that they pollinate. It’s the sweetness of our life that we’re going to miss,” Oxford said.

Tim Brown is a part of the pesticide research institute and co-author of the study.

He says 13 samples of garden plants, purchased at top retailers like Home Depot and Orchard Supply in Minneapolis, Washington, D.C. and here in the Bay Area contained neuro-toxic pesticides known as neonics.

“The results of the study shows that about half of the composite samples we analyzed detected positive for these neotictinoids, which are potentially harmful toward bees,” Brown said. Researchers are blaming pesticides for the death of millions of bees all over the world potentially threatening the nation’s food supply.

“There is no more time. We have to make a stand now. Bees are in trouble,” Oxford said.

A spokesman for Home Depot told NBC Bay Area they haven’t reviewed the study yet.

"But we certainly appreciate the importance of the bee population and will be reaching out to the study groups to learn more about their findings and methodology," Stephen Holmes said.

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